(Hauppauge, NY-June 27, 2012) Today, County Executive Bellone was joined by members of the Long Island delegation to highlight and discus the successful state legislative agenda County Executive Bellone was able to secure during this session. The success of Suffolk County’s legislative agenda is critically important during these fiscally challenging times. With a renewed relationship with New York state, Bellone’s administration was able to secure over $18 million in recurring revenue from state approved legislative items. In addition, Bellone’s legislative agenda included requests for local mandate relief which are estimated to save the county $187 million over the next five years.
“By working together with our state delegation, we are delivering for Suffolk County residents and working towards resolving our fiscal crisis,” said County Executive Bellone. “Since 2008, Suffolk County has been operating a structurally imbalanced budget where expenses have outpaced revenues and reserves were used to balance the budget each year. Now we are in a position where reserves are depleted and many one shot revenues have been exhausted. Our state delegation and Governor Cuomo understand this challenge and have gone above and beyond to be part of the solution. On behalf of Suffolk County residents, I am grateful to our state delegation for their hard work, cooperation and collaborative partnership in one of the most important, successful and historical sessions for the county.”
Approval to Expand the Electronic Traffic Monitoring Program Red Light Cameras – $6 million annually
· Expansion of our current and successful red light camera program from 50 intersections to 100 intersections helping to improve safe traverse on roadways
Approval of Off Track Betting Bankruptcy Legislation -$1.3 million annually
· Allows Suffolk County Off Track Betting (OTB) to enter into Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection and to use their capital reserve fund for corporate expenses;
· Provide Suffolk County the ability to restructure OTB and restore profitability to the corporation;
· Saves more than 220 jobs;
· No additional cost to Suffolk County taxpayers;
Authorization for Suffolk County to regulate taxicabs, limousines, and livery vehicles-$340,000 annually
· Allows Suffolk County to enact and enhance a local law that was approved in December 2005 but required state authorization for implementation
· Ensures consumers are not being overcharged, requires that licensed companies carry appropriate insurance, requires licensed companies to use only inspected vehicles that are in good repair, screens operators for driver competency and performs criminal background checks as a condition of licensing
Authorization to establish a Traffic & Parking Violations Agency in Suffolk County- $10-11 million annually
· Assists District Court in the administration and disposition of traffic and parking infractions, and will provide the following benefits:
· Reduces the backlog of unanswered and unpaid traffic and parking summonses issued in Suffolk County.
· Eases the burden on District Court in disposing of the tremendous number of cases that traffic and parking violations generate and which are consuming a large portion of District Court resources.
· Assures that speedy and equitable disposition of charges for traffic and parking violations is provided to residents, thereby preserving the quality of life in Suffolk County.
· Assures residents that traffic and parking laws will be enforced and appropriate penalties will be imposed on those persons who have been found guilty.
Governor’s Local Mandate relief:
Pension reform: Tier VI
· The creation of a new tier in the state pension system will save the county over $97 million over five years
· Takeover by the State of growth in the local share of Medicaid expenses will save Suffolk County an estimated $39 million over five years.
New York State Commission of Corrections Variance:
· State approved plan to keep inmates in Suffolk County versus transporting them to Nassau and New York City jails- $6 million per year
· State approval of phased opening of jail in which no new Correction Officers are needed-$1.8 million for 2012 and $18.8 million for next 5 years
· State approved reduced staffing levels in jail medical unit-Expected savings: $1.9 million for 2012 and $32.8 million for next 5 years
· Local share of disaster response and recovery costs resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee-$4.5 million
· $17 million for debt reduction associated with the Foley Nursing Home as well as capital improvements